Decoding the Descriptions

If you have ever gone house-hunting, you know that you can learn a lot about a home from its description in the MLS listing. There are certain code words that give you clues to the condition, size, or layout of the home. For example, “low maintenance backyard” means it is small or mostly made of concrete; “step saver kitchen” means the kitchen is basically a closet; “great potential” means the home needs at least $20,000 of repairs and cosmetic improvements.

As Dave and I continue to look for our next long-term ministry stop, we are learning to similarly decode the job postings we find online. You can learn a lot from the church’s name, web site, and doctrinal statement, but you can also find some clues in the initial posting. For example:

  • “The candidate must fit the biblical qualifications for leadership in I Timothy” means the church is specifically looking for a man to fill the position.
  • “Biblically based” generally means the pastor must be Baptist in theology.
  • “Spirit-filled candidate” means the person must demonstrate charismatic/sign gifts such as speaking in tongues.
  • A church that describes itself as “contemporary” usually means “music from the late ’90’s.”
  • “Our current pastor is retiring after 25 years of faithful ministry” means the next person will never measure up.

What other clues have you found in job descriptions?


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